Living through movie moments

Living through movie moments

6 minute read

Last month, 26 students from the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) jetted off across the Pacific to the east coast of the United States. The 11-day trip to New York and Washington was a part of CBE’s unique Global Business Immersion (GBI) program, which provides students a distinctive learning experience in business, politics and culture.

For many students, the trip added great depth to their knowledge; but for Eleanor Lau, the trip provided a newfound sense of real world learning, she writes.

New York, New York

New York was a busy metropolis that brought to life many movie moments for us, from seeing the Statue of Liberty up close to the never-ending views from the top of the Empire State Building. We explored the financial capital of the world through a tour of Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and the World Trade Centre. Walking down these iconic locations was followed by industry visits to banking giants Citibank and Macquarie Capital. Changing tracts, we also had a closer look at the consumer goods industry. We visited Newell Brands and learnt about the latest developments in marketing and e-commerce practices. This leg of GBI ended with a special networking event with the ANU alumni working in the US, who shared many valuable insights on how to craft a successful international career.

At the epicentre of world politics

Washington DC felt surprisingly familiar to Canberra, particularly in its urban planning and design. Visiting the memorials and Congress on Capitol Hill helped us to understand US history and its complex political system, which we then supplemented through our own exploration of the fantastic Smithsonian museums. I found myself ogling at exhibits like the ones featuring Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit at the Air and Space Museum, the 12-meter long Star-Spangled Banner at the Museum of American History, and the Hope Diamond at the Museum of Natural History.

Industry expertise

We were fortunate to engage with academics from George Washington University, City University of New York, and Seton Hall. We also had the privilege of personal interaction with Alastair JM Walton, the Australian Consul-General in New York. We met other senior foreign dignitaries who discussed a range of interesting and current topics including US infrastructure and healthcare economics, the role of government policy in the lead-up to the Global Financial Crisis, and social security payments in the context of US federal debt trends. These interactions gave us context on some of the social and political challenges faced by the US, the risks and opportunities these pose for businesses, and the potential lessons to be drawn from other countries (notably Australia!). The interplay between policy, business decisions and economic outcomes was discussed in a way that I have rarely heard so well integrated before, at least in my traditional studies.

Finally, our visits to the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York and the World Bank in Washington definitely deserve a mention. It was inspiring to step back from thinking granularly about business from the perspective of an American or an Australian, and be reminded of humanity's broader interests through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the World Bank's 'development economics'-based lending, for example in poverty reduction or global military expenditure reduction.


This trip provided me with so much more depth to a seemingly familiar country than I would have gotten as a normal tourist. I definitely returned to Australia with a newfound sense of appreciation for real world learning, as well as many fun memories with a group of fantastic students and staff.

This GBI trip was a highly enriching experience that gave us some very unique insights into the business, political and cultural environment of the US, and their relevance to Australian interests. We also got a much more informed perspective on the international career opportunities that are achievable for ANU graduates.

Global Business Immersion (GBI) is an enriching in-country immersion program offered by the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE). It allows students to fully “immerse” themselves in the culture of a specific country and gain further understanding of how the country's environment influences the way that business is conducted.

To learn more about GBI, click here.